Today I going to be describing what happens during a typical Periodontal disease treatment at the National Dental Centre of Singapore or NDCS. I believe it would be the same treatment worldwide.
I found out that I had periodontal disease ( gum disease ) back in late 2017 and I started my treatment in Early 2018. Having lost 3 teeth already, I was not about to lose any more. I was diagnosed as having severe periodontal disease and all teeth would be gone in 5-6 years if I didn’t do anything. I decided to seek treatment.
What is Periodontal disease? It is a gum disease which attacks the gums and the bones holding the teeth. Here’s a Mayo clinic link.
So I estimate that this ( 11 January 2021) is my 10th or 11th treatment in NDCS ( National Dental Centre Singapore) in Outram road Singapore, next to the Health promotion board ( HPB ) building. On entering the building, I scanned my NDCS medical appointment card on the appointment kiosk and it showed me that my dentist for this appointment was on the 2nd level. I recall that level 6 was the serious periodontist treatment level. But anyone can be assigned to any of their many Dentists for regular dental treatment there. I had already gone through the heavy duty cleaning, hence the follow-ups could be assigned to any floor.
To cut the long story short, my number was displayed on the electronic queue board and when my queue number was flashed, I proceeded inside to located the cubicle.
After confirming my identity, the dentist checked my previous records and proceeded to do a gum check update.
This check is done each and every time I go for a session. It comprises of using a sharp dental tool and poking in between every tooth at the gums. Outside and inside. I think the gum at every tooth was pierced 2 times at adjacent locations. The checking is done on the inside first. And then on the outside. It is painful but tolerable. This test allows the dentist to chart and record the condition of the entire gum line in the mouth. I repeat… It is painful.
After the charting, the cleaning began. Firstly, a numbing agent was rubbed in several locations in my mouth. This allowed for 30%-50% less pain when the anesthesia was injected. I advise patients to close the eyes, breathe deeply and brace themselves.
After 5-6 jabs in my mouth, the numbness started to take effect. But not nearly enough to numb the whole mouth. You can request for more anesthesia if you have a low pain threshold.
2-3 mins after the injections, the dentist started the cleaning, first working on the top row of teeth. If you’ve done the normal scaling, its similar. Except that for Periodontist cases, the gums are involved. Hence, the tool will be cleaning on the gum line. Sometimes slightly below the gums. And is obviously very painful. My body would stiffen and eyes clamped tightly shut. Some people may even sweat in air conditioning. Sometimes then the tool rubs the nerves in the teeth it gets a bit more uncomfortable. The cold fluid blasting the tooth to prevent overheating adds more to the discomfort too.
So, the dentist will clean front and back rows of teeth. And there would be a bit of bleeding from the gums which you will need to rinse during intervals. The dentist will advise when to rinse.
This cleaning went on until all the teeth were cleaned. After the painful cleanup for 45 minutes, a smoothening tool will be used to file down and smoothen the rough edges of all the teeth. This tool had a minty flavour and does not hurt.
Extraction of wisdom tooth
After the cleanup ended, the dentist advised me to remove two of my wisdom teeth. It is not compulsory but it makes it easier to clean and therefore easier to remove the bacteria due to food buildup in the far corners of the mouth.
I told the dentist that I would consider an extraction in 3 months since those 2 teeth are not being used for chewing.
I would advise anyone to be using an electric toothbrush to reach deep inside the mouth. And for anyone who wish to avoid the stage of gum disease I had reached. I was also advised to use the interdental brush to clean in between my teeth since there are bigger gaps near the bottom, near the gums. At least once a day. I will talk about the maintenance in another post.
So the dentist said my gums are much improved and I left the dental center feeling good but with a sore mouth. I could eat but could feel a slight discomfort. So nothing to worry about. And my dental bill? It is only $93 singapore dollars. A very reasonable amount for such heavy and intricate work. I will share with fellow Singaporeans the trick of getting affordable dental care service in Singapore in my next blog post. Look below at my invoice picture.
I encourage anyone to get checked for gum disease if they heve shaky teeth or a tooth that dropped. Protecting your smile and most importantly your teeth to enjoy food is what you should aim to achieve, and preserving them for all the days of your life.